2/06/2015 Driving through this country, we continue to be amazed at the fortitude of folk out this way who are trying their best to survive this oppressive drought. We’re glad that we are able to contribute in a small way; through purchasing petrol, groceries, alcohol, caravan park fees, souvenirs, pub lunches, coffee, award-winning pies, whatever. Individually, it would be maybe a couple of hundred dollars but there are so many travellers out this way – sometimes the only other traffic on the road are pulling caravans and camper trailers – who would all be doing the same things as us and, collectively, it’d add up to help the communities get by. We’ve had locals thank us on a couple of occasions for just coming to their town in the drought. They were just so grateful that we came and might bring some business.
After a refuel in Winton, our camp site was at Bough Shed Waterhole, 30kms south-west on the banks of Surprise Creek. It was a pleasant change to find quite a lot of water in the creek, in a series of large waterholes separated by dry stretches of creek bed comprised of sandy gravel and rock shelves. The waterhole is on the western boundary of Bladensburg National Park. To reach it, we took the sealed Jundah Road south from Winton, then turned off onto an unsealed road towards the small mining town of Opalton. This gravel road took us through some eerie but scenic clay pan country, then through spinifex grass flats before the signed turnoff towards the waterhole. After crossing Surprise Creek over a dry and bumpy rock shelf, the camp site was just a short drive along the track.
The banks of the waterhole were lined with stands of white Ghost Gums, providing cool shade and lots of bird life for us to twitch. It was a welcoming change from the caravan park in Longreach as we cooked our dinner on the camp fire and watched the sky change colour from yellows to fiery reds in the setting sun. The cloud cover that had been hinting at rain all day cleared just after dark and we enjoyed our camp fire under a ceiling of stars.
We woke early enough to catch the sunrise the next morning.
The only unpleasant thing about this spot were the pesky bush flies that arrived in hordes and stayed on and around us until sunset, returning at first light the next day. What’s with these things? Out in the middle of nowhere, where do they come from and what is their purpose? Just what do they do when no-one is around? And what is it about our backs that they find so inviting? These and many more riddles go unanswered in the Aussie Outback.
“A good traveller leaves no tracks.” ― Lao Tzu